Barely a quarter century ago, the week going into the Fourth of July was hotter’n blue blazes. Kinda like it is now, but it just seemed a whole lot hotter.
Of course, when you’re nine-and a- half months pregnant, it could be 20 below zero and you’d be hot.
Well past my due date of June 23, I had gotten so big and uncomfortable that walking seemed to be the best course of action to encourage the baby to grace us.
My mother and I walked that baby every night — or early in the morning — until she finally decided it might be time to announce her forthcoming appearance late in the day on July 5th. It was about 7 am when I got up to make a trip to the necessary room for what seemed like the hundredth time since midnight.
Over the previous months, I had spent a lot of time beatin’ a path to the little room, so I could just about make the trip in my sleep. In fact, early that July morning, I believe I was about 2/3 asleep when it occurred to me that I was answering nature’s call, but it was a different kind.
About a quarter to five that afternoon, I was wheeled into the operating room at St. Mary’s Hospital to prepare for the Caesarean section we’d need to have since this child had decided to re-position herself and there was no way she was making that little trip under her own steam.
So though we had envisioned an intimate little event with just her daddy and me with the doctor, it turned out we’d have a few more folks in the room since there would be two doctors and the surgical staff. I’m figuring, maybe, five or six more masks and rubber gloves witnessing the blessed event.
Somehow, the intimacy factor was a bit removed when my arms were velcroed to the table and a curtain — they called it a “sterile field” — was placed over my chest. Now I know what the magician’s assistant feels like while being sawed in half.
Then the door opened and in marches no less than fifteen gowns and masks with rubber gloves. They silently made a semi-circle about six feet away from the foot of the table on which everything the good Lord had given me was on display for whoever happened to wander by.
I was okay with the surgical staff, but who were all these people?
“Excuse me,” I inquired. “Who are all these folks? Is this the five o’clock tour group?”
My husband drawled from behind my head, “Oh, this is the EMT class. I told them you wouldn’t mind.”
Didn’t think I would mind? And who is the one hanging out on the table here? Lucky for him I was strapped to the table.
My Southern breeding kicked in, so I smiled sweetly and said, “Well, bless their hearts. Of course, we’re delighted to have them. Why don’t you check in the lobby and see if anybody else wants to join us? There’s still some room for somebody to hang from the ceiling.”
My chagrin at being the curriculum for that day’s class vanished as soon as Stephanie Elizabeth hit daylight. She was most vocal in announcing her arrival, but soon calmed when she heard her daddy’s voice. Those big ol’ eyes took in every pair of eyes looking back at her and they whisked her away to the nursery to have her first bath.
My mother walked to the nursery with her. “Oh, little baby, this is your Mammo,” she cooed. The male nurse looked at mother with no small amount of amusement. “You think I’m nuts,” Mother remarked. He had the good breeding to say nothing.
Twenty-six years later, not a lot has changed. Stephanie is her own person, moves at her own pace, and announces herself when she gets ready. My mother is still nuts. Just ask anybody, especially my father. My daughter has grown into a beautiful, talented young woman who can do anything she puts her mind to. She can be incredibly helpful and plan the most wonderful vacations.
Still, we drive each other crazy – probably because she’s as headstrong as her mother and her mother before her. But that’s what mothers and daughters do.
Happy Birthday, Stephanie! I love you more than you’ll ever know.
Helen Person is a Winder resident and columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.